CBD has become extremely popular in the human health and wellness communities as a natural aid for anxiety, insomnia and pain. Now, many are beginning to wonder if this natural compound could be useful and safe for our furry friends, too.
There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding the use, efficacy and legality of CBD. If you’ve considered giving CBD a try for your pup or kitty, here’s what you should know.
What is CBD?
CBD is short for cannabidiol, the name of a cannabinoid compound found in cannabis plants. CBD concerns a lot of pet owners because it is mistakenly conflated with psychoactive compound in marijuana. However, these are not the same.
Both the marijuana and hemp plants are part of the cannabis family, and both contain CBD, as well as lots of other compounds and chemicals. Marijuana also contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the cannabinoid that produces the “high” we associate with the plant.
Most CBD is derived from the hemp plant, which contains less than 0.3 percent THC. In short, CBD cannot get you or your pets high because it is non-intoxicating.
Instead, CBD is believed to have numerous benefits for the body because of the way it interacts with a natural system both humans and pets have, called the endocannabinoid system. With receptors throughout the brain and body, the endocannabinoid system is activated by cannabinoids like CBD. Essentially, CBD works to create balance throughout the body, resulting in various effects such as relaxation, pain relief and anxiety relief.
CBD can come in many forms. For humans, it can be taken as an oil tincture, an edible, a topical cream or inhaled by a vape pen. However, for pets, you’re most likely to find it in oil drops or infused into edible treats.
Is CBD safe for pets?
CBD is believed to be generally safe for consumption in both humans and pets. It has very few known side effects. Based on human side effects, higher doses of CBD may cause dry mouth or increased thirst, minor drops in blood pressure and drowsiness.
As long as the CBD product contains very little to no THC, there is no chance that your pet will get high. This is of particular concern, because THC can be dangerous for pets.
Mixing CBD with certain medications may also be dangerous, so it’s important to exercise caution if your pet is taking other medications.
However, there have not been formal studies on CBD in pets. Overall, CBD has not been studied extensively in the scientific community, and there is a lot left to learn about its safety, efficacy and potential uses.
What is CBD used for?
Although no formal studies have been conducted on CBD in pets, many holistic vets and pet owners believe that CBD can be useful in certain situations with dogs and cats.
One common use for CBD in pets, as well as in humans, is as a treatment for seizures. Epileptic pets may have fewer or more controlled seizures when taking CBD on a regular basis.
CBD may also be useful for pain management. Pets that are in recovery from a surgery, have an injury or experience chronic pain may find relief when taking CBD products, since CBD is believed to block feelings of pain throughout the body.
Some pet owners also believe that CBD is a natural alternative for anxiety relief. Cats and dogs with anxiety disorders or occasional anxiety, like during fireworks or thunderstorms, may act calmer after the anxiety-relieving and relaxing benefits of CBD kick in.
There are also a few more proposed benefits for CBD, including appetite stimulation, nausea relief and inflammation reduction.
Things to consider before buying CBD
Before looking into purchasing a CBD product to give to your pet, make sure you speak with your pet’s veterinarian to discuss the possibility and any potential dangers. Ask your pet if they know of a reliable pet-safe CBD companies and what dosage would be appropriate for your pup.
When buying CBD products for your pets, make sure the product has no or very, very small amounts of THC (you should look for hemp-derived products for this reason). Also look for products that are organic, containing no pesticides or other additives.
Look for reputable companies with good reviews and ones that get third-party testing done on their products. Ask the company for a certificate of analysis to ensure that the product truly contains what it says.
Remember, CBD is not a cure-all for every potential ailment your cat or dog may experience. However, it may have some great benefits if you’re willing to give it a try. Just be sure to exercise caution and always discuss the product with your vet.